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Dining alone during a long weekend in Paris

Schatzi29 Jun 12, 2009 07:13 AM

Hello fellow Chowhounds,

I'm going to be in Paris from Friday through Monday for a long weekend with my husband. Since he'll be there on a work assignment, I'm going to spend most of the days roaming around and exploring on my own.

Does anyone have any suggestions for great places to dine (lunch, dinner, and sunday options all welcome) that also are great for solo diners?

I'm going to spend a lot of time at the markets and setting up picnics for myself, but I don't want to miss out on any great restaurants!


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  1. f
    f2dat06 RE: Schatzi29 Jun 12, 2009 08:01 AM

    All places in Paris are good for solo diners, eating alone is not a big deal at all.

    11 Replies
    1. re: f2dat06
      souphie RE: f2dat06 Jun 13, 2009 05:27 AM

      Yep. And not missing any great restaurants means you'll have to stay several months. Give us some hints as to what you'd like, your budget, etc.

      1. re: souphie
        AgentRed RE: souphie Jun 13, 2009 03:17 PM

        I felt uncomfortable eating alone at most nice restaurants in Paris. And that was with reservations, where the staff were just snooty.

        Without reservations? Forget it, you're either waiting outside or told to come back in half an hour (which is repeated until you give up). Joel R was the worst for this.

        Compared to New York or Amsterdam or Hong Kong, Paris is downright inhospitable for the lonely diner. Maybe it has to do with less business travellers, maybe it's the language difference (although I studied French at school and try at least a token attempt at greeting and ordering in it) maybe I kept offending the maitre d' somehow...

        I ended up missing a lot of nice restaurants because of this, only going somewhere nice when friends were visiting. Souphie probably finds it easier as a French restaurant critic extraordinaire, but us mere mortals are treated less well. Sorry to discourage, hopefully you'll find it easier!

        1. re: AgentRed
          capeanne RE: AgentRed Jun 13, 2009 06:36 PM

          I totally disagree. I have been many evenings alone in Paris as a tourist ( American) and never treated badly. And I speak barely passable menu French although i try hard. I find Paris much more hospitable than NYC where I am alone often. I have reserved and been a walk in ...my experiences have caused me to name Paris as the City in which i am most comfortable dining alone ...refer to my past posts...you will be fine if not fawned over!!!!

          1. re: AgentRed
            pikawicca RE: AgentRed Jun 13, 2009 06:43 PM

            I don't think that we've eaten in the same Paris. Over 40 years, I visited many times, both alone and with my husband, and I've never been treated differently. My first visit was with my (very bad) high school French, and the Parisians were totally gracious.

            1. re: pikawicca
              capeanne RE: pikawicca Jun 13, 2009 06:49 PM

              Pik I was there alone last month for 2 nights before my Husband joined me and I think ( don't tell him) that i was treated better and had more interaction with the staff when I was by myself !!!!

            2. re: AgentRed
              ChefJune RE: AgentRed Jun 13, 2009 06:59 PM

              I also totally disagree! I have dined alone in Paris far more often than not, and have never been snubbed, slighted, ignored, or anything even close to that. Quite the contrary, I find myself being fawned over and being made to feel part of the family or something.

              I wouldn't go much of anywhere without a reservation, tho. I don't recommend that. It's easy enough to call ahead, even if it's just an hour or so.

              1. re: AgentRed
                souphie RE: AgentRed Jun 14, 2009 12:11 AM

                That sounds like a cultural issue. It is true that French ways are not forgiving when not addressed the right way. That said, Joel R's waiting outside, as you must have noticed, is really no different for people that are not coming alone. It's actually worse, since it's easier for them to have one spot at their bar than several.

                Next time I'll come with you.

                1. re: souphie
                  AgentRed RE: souphie Jun 16, 2009 12:24 PM

                  Wow maybe I am in the minority. Maybe I feel more comfortable in NYC or Tokyo because there are more young boys and girls eating at three star places than Paris, where most diners are 30+

                  I've never had a pie thrown in my face, of course, it's never outright hostility, but it's little things like waiting a really long time before someone comes to take my order, being seated in dark corners when there are identical tables sitting empty or being ignored by the sommelier which rarely happens elsewhere.

                  And Souphie, I would be delighted to accompany Paris' Epicurean Queen to Joel R, my treat!

                  1. re: AgentRed
                    souphie RE: AgentRed Jun 17, 2009 12:15 AM

                    zejulot@gmail.com . But not really a queen. More of a prince.

                2. re: AgentRed
                  fanoffrance RE: AgentRed Jun 21, 2009 03:48 AM

                  Probably 80% of my restaurant experiences have been as a solo diner, and I've never had a problem or felt uncomfortable. That said, I always have a reservation and I do speak some French; moreover, I'm not familiar with New York, Amsterdam or Hong Kong! Your profile does reveal a... special sense of humor, which might rub some maitre d' the wrong way, who knows;)

                  1. re: fanoffrance
                    AgentRed RE: fanoffrance Jun 22, 2009 06:17 AM

                    Hmmmm, despite everyone's assurances to the contrary... I still think Paris is weird!

                    Maybe I do rub the waiting staff the wrong way, but the next time I'm in the city I shall dine with Souphie so that he can teach me maitre d' etiquette and I can teach him how to suck a snail out of its shell with your nose.

            3. w
              wlyn RE: Schatzi29 Jun 14, 2009 12:46 AM

              I often dine alone at the wine bar in my neighborhood, FISH La Boissonerie, for the market fresh menus, southern French organic wines, and to sit with all the other solo foodies who come in to dine at the bar... and it is open everyday of the week, a real blessing on Sunday and Monday!

              1 Reply
              1. re: wlyn
                Schatzi29 RE: wlyn Jun 15, 2009 07:58 AM

                Thanks everyone for the suggestions -- I was at Fish La Boissonerie last year and loved it! Was planning to go back this time around as well.

              2. l
                Leely2 RE: Schatzi29 Jun 19, 2009 08:05 PM


                I wholeheartedly agree with those who say dining solo in Paris is no big deal. I ate nearly everywhere by myself last month and never felt the slightest bit uncomfortable. I am the type who would feel self-conscious, too, partially because I speak no--zero, zip--French.

                But really, no one cares one way or the other if you're at a table by yourself, and in fact I found the service I received quite solicitous. (Of course I am extremely charming.)

                You don't say what kind of places you're interested in or budget, but, guided by Souphie, I tried--and really enjoyed--lunch at La Grande Cascade and Le Cinq (he joined me for that one; I don't think he can resist it), and dinner at Le Chateaubriand and Au Bon Accueil. I also had a very nice, relaxing meal with friends at Le Gaigne. It's a small and quiet bistrot. I would have felt entirely welcome there by myself.

                Enjoy your trip.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Leely2
                  kittenwithawhip RE: Leely2 Jul 3, 2009 12:34 PM

                  When I am in Paris solo, one of my favorite places to go is Ile St Louis. There are several lovely cafes and a tea shop there and I have never been treated anything but graciously while dining alone. I particularly love Auberge de la Reine Blanche.

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